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Article: Gallstone | Gallbladder Stone Treatment | Gallbladder Pain

Gallstone | Gallbladder Stone Treatment | Gallbladder Pain

Gallstone

Author:

Dr. Veena Deo

Gallstone:

A gallstone, also known as a biliary calculus or cholelith, is a calculus formed in the gallbladder or biliary passages.

Gallstone formation is a common disorder of the biliary tree, and it is unusual for the gallbladder to be diseased in the absence of gallstones. The incidence of gallstones in developed countries is increasing and often occurs at an early stage. In India, the incidence of gallstones is less.

Gallstones are classified into cholesterol and pigmented stones.

1. Cholesterol Gallstones:

  • The most common type, found predominantly in developed countries and often appears yellow.
  • Patients with cholesterol gallstones have gallbladder bile that forms cholesterol crystals more rapidly than equally saturated bile from patients who do not form gallstones.
  • Bile contains chemicals that can dissolve the cholesterol excreted by the liver. However, if the liver excretes more cholesterol that cannot be dissolved, excess cholesterol may form gallstones.
2. Pigment Gallstones:
  • Brown crumbly pigment stones are almost always the consequence of bacterial or parasitic infections in the biliary tree. These dark brown or black stones form when bile contains too much bilirubin and are common in the Far East.

Symptoms:

At the initial stage, there are often no symptoms. Gallstones may be observed during routine X-rays or abdominal surgeries. When gallstones cause blockage, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Asymptomatic in 80% of cases.
  • Biliary colic.
  • Yellowing of the skin.
  • High fever with chills.
  • Pain, typically sudden and lasting about 6 hours if the gallstone becomes impacted in the cystic duct.
  • Pain is usually felt in the epigastrium or right upper quadrant and may radiate to other regions.

Risk Factors:

  • Obesity
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • IBS

Herbs to Treat Gallstones:

  • Rosemary: Stimulates bile production and helps eliminate blockages in the bile duct.
  • Milk thistle seeds (Silymarin): Useful in treating gallstones.
  • Green tea extract: Stimulates fat digestion in the gallbladder and prevents gallstone formation.
  • Cinnamon: Eugenol present helps to break down gallstones and flush them from the body.
  • Peppermint: Menthol component helps treat gallstones.
  • Artichoke leaves: Increases bile production and prevents gallstone formation.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon daily.
  • Apple juice: Daily consumption.
  • Carrot juice: Daily consumption.
  • Low-fat foods and dairy.
  • Alfalfa: Beneficial.
  • Ginger root: Use in food items.
  • Fennel seeds: Help clear obstructions in the liver, gallbladder, and spleen.

Tests Required:

  • Bilirubin Test
  • Liver Function Test

Investigations:

  • Ultrasound: The investigation of choice for diagnosing gallstones. Most stones are diagnosed by transabdominal ultrasound, which has a >92%  sensitivity and 99% specificity for Gallbladder stones.
  • CT and MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography): Excellent modalities for detecting complications of gallstones.

Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some natural home remedies, consult an Ayurvedic Physician for the quantity and usage before taking them.